Having been a massive Alkaline Trio fan for nearly ten years now, my opinion on their records is often biased. I’ll try and keep my opinions free from as much ass kissing as possible. This is the seventh studio instalment (8th if you count the S/T L.P) from the crowned dark princes of pop-punk. The trio have apparently returned “back to their roots” on this record, but let’s see how it pans out…
The album opens with This Addiction the albums title track, this has been previously reviewed by fellow writer ‘Anton B-Low’ so I won’t go into it much. A lot of people have called this the weakest track on the album, and if so, this album should kick some serious booty.
Next up is Dine, Dine My Darling – the title being a parody of The Misfits’ classic Die, Die My Darling – and the first track from the man Andriano on this disc. What a fucking ear shredder, (in a good way). In my opinion, Dan has been the stronger force in Trio post From Here To Infirmary, and this song is total proof of that. Good wholesome punk rock with a fucking meaty hook of a chorus, especially on the final chorus in the song, showing just how much Mr. Andriano has progressed in both vocal talent and confidence since the early days.
For the third installment it’s back to Matt, who gives their claim of “back to roots” all the more clarification. Fast, furious and dark as hell, Lead Poisoning is Skiba at his best. Wait, what’s this, a ska-punk horn section in an Alkaline Trio song?! But wait…again, this actually works, and works well! REALLY FRIGGIN’ WELL!!
Dead On The Floor sounds a lot more like the more recent Trio, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s a lot slower pace-wise to our opening three, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Number four on the album has one of the slickest bass lines I’ve heard in a long time and really cool vocal line. This will surely have fans drowning out Skiba at concerts, in true Trio live fashion.
It’s back to the upbeat with The American Scream. Out of the entire album so far, this is the one that brings me back to the old school. The lyrics are as darkly poetic as most on Maybe I’ll Catch Fire and the chorus riff just begs for many drunken air guitar motions in future listens. The track title itself reminds me of The Misfits tinged play on words that I know from other reviews and interviews Skiba loves so much. You can tell he’s having fun in every word.
Easily the strongest track on the album in my opinion, if I was a woman or a more openly minded man, I would fall deeply in love with Dan Andriano. Fuck it, I think I have anyway. Not only is it sticking with the old-school etiquette, but this song seems to have kept the awkward romance of Dan’s songs and lyrics since his marriage. It’s reminiscent of the Good Mourning classic Every Thug Needs a Lady and Dan’s heartfelt track on Crimson, I was a Prayer. If Off the Map isn’t Alkaline Trio’s first Dan written single, it REALLY should be.
Draculina is unfortunately, in my opinion, the weakest track on the album, with the famed darkness the Trio hold dear seeming very forced. When I read the title I didn’t think I’d be keen on this song, and after a few listens my opinion hasn’t changed. Not a poor song as such, it just seems like a song that would appeal to a younger generation of fans, more a song for the My Chemical Romance era of fans. Though the line, “I’m leaving heaven behind for good this time the angels can keep it,” is absolutely fucking awesome.
What the hell is this, The fucking Human League? Eating me Alive starts like some 80’s synth track, but make no mistake; this song is no laughing matter. This is the best track on This Addiction to come from Skiba. A clever combination of the pop-punk and Skiba’s influences from artists such as Sisters of Mercy. With lines such as “I can’t stand this dark feeling, this shark eating me up inside,” and “I was bound by your father the jewel thief that night, as you said he was still behind bars,” sung over such an upbeat backing. It’s another prime example of what makes Alkaline Trio such a unique figure in the punk rock scene.
Not sure what’s going on here, maybe due to Against Me! front-man Tom Gabel marrying Trio merch lady Heather Hannoura, (now Heather Gabel, obviously), but it seems the Trio have been stealing song titles from the Against Me! boys, but I’m sure it’s all in good fun. Piss and Vinegar is another awesome track, a bit more laid back and also the shortest on the track, but a bloody good tune none the less.
Dorothy is the closest in my mind to their previous album, Agony and Irony. It reminds me a lot of the track I Found Away for two reasons: it has a very similar feel and also is nearly ruined by some strange, somewhat pointless sound effect. I Found Away had a clock ticking before Skiba sang the word “time“, this track, on the line, “like the scratching sound of insects,” there’s, well, you get the point, but this a minor fault in an otherwise kick ass tune.
The album closes with the Andriano track Fine. The most mellow of all the songs on the album, and definitely the right choice for a closer. This song isn’t even close to punk-rock and it doesn’t try to be, though there is a kick in at the end. It’s a deep, open, heartfelt and even somewhat cheeky song, which is surprising for Dan. Lyrically it is best on the whole record, lines such as “You see a storm knocked out my super powers,” and, “If I’m captain of this ship, then all my shipmates are fools,” see’s Dan mocking himself in an innocent way. Not only is it heart warming, but also quite humorous. The song draws to a close as does the album. Fine? This albums a lot more than fine, its Alkaline Trio just as I like them, darkly poetic, tongue in cheek and slick as hell.
And for any drum fans out there, don’t worry, Derek Grant might not have much mention in this review, but he is very much up to form on this record.